Nearly anyone who has been in a relationship will agree that it takes a fair amount of time to really get to know another person and understand their deep-seated beliefs. It is virtually impossible to know much about any politician because without intimate knowledge of their background and interpersonal relationships, one must depend on how they respond to questions, their public record, and especially past performances. It has been trying for voters to understand Willard Romney because he never adheres to a particular agenda, and his recent conversion to ultra-rightwing extremism is but another shift to curry favor with Republicans.
Over the past two weeks, and particularly the past two days, Romney has provided a wealth of information regarding his ideology and he accomplished that primarily in two speeches that validate his critics’ assertions throughout the campaign. The American people know very little about Romney except that he is extremely wealthy, but political observers and critics have asserted for some time that he is a pandering pathological liar, who is power-hungry, arrogant, secretive, and a racist.
Yesterday in Michigan, Romney told an audience that, “No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate,” and by pandering to the birther crowd, he revealed that that he is a racist who is willing to go to any lengths to achieve the most powerful office in the land. His nod to the birthers signals that Romney is not the leader he purports to be. Next week at the Republican convention in Tampa, there are no less than seven birthers speaking to convention-goers including Romney’s friend Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee, Florida governor Rick Scott, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, and three other well-known racists who contend President Obama is a Kenyan and ineligible to serve as President. Romney, who is supposed to be the party’s standard bearer going into November, is more than willing to consort with racists because he is desperate in his lust for power.
On Thursday, Romney unveiled his energy plan at an oil-services company in New Mexico that allegedly accomplishes North American energy independence by 2020. Willard said energy independence requires opening up more federal lands and waters to oil and gas drilling, giving states approval power over federal land, and building Keystone-like pipelines between Canada and Mexico to take fuller advantage of their oil resources. The plan, written by the oil industry is essential summed up in three words; “drill baby drill.” What was missing from his plan was any reference to renewable and green energy, safety standards for increased oil and gas drilling, or any mention of climate change. However, it did include repealing EPA limits on carbon dioxide pollution from power plants, criticism of President Obama’s moratorium during the BP oil spill, and eliminating regulations that destroy jobs, paralyze industry, or bar the use of resources like coal.
Willard’s plan exposed his anti-environmental position that puts Americans in danger of dirty air, polluted water, and blatant disregard for the environment to be sure, but it also exposed his belief that winning in November makes him king of North America. Earlier in the campaign, Romney said “I’ll build the Keystone pipeline and get that Canadian oil we deserve,” and it ignores two simple facts. One, the Canadian oil does not belong to America, and two, that any oil from Canada, Mexico, or America belongs to the oil industry that will sell it on the foreign market to Europe, China, and Central America. Does Romney know how the oil industry works, and that a president is not able to “get that oil we deserve” from sovereign nations and oil companies? If he does know it, then he has a distorted self-image that has its basis his religious upbringing.
According to Sue Emmett, a great-great-granddaughter of Mormonism’s Brigham Young, Romney was raised in a culture that “gives men power when they are 12 years old,” and that as a bishop, “Mitt was used to having people defer to him and not challenge him throughout his entire life.” She continued that “it is a position where everyone defers to you. What a bishop says goes. People come to them to receive blessings, and as the world can now see, Mitt has a very hard time being questioned and criticized because he’s had so little of this in his life.”
Romney’s religious background may also contribute to his racist tendencies manifest in his latest birther statement. The Mormon cult held that dark-skinned people were cursed by god until Willard was 31 years old, and bringing up the President’s birth certificate appears to be an integral part of his racially-tinged campaign. Willard’s campaign said President Obama needs to “learn to be an American,” and Romney said the President’s policies “are foreign to America.” Whatever the reason for Romney’s drift into explicit racism, it appears that in his lust for power he is getting desperate to openly embrace birthers.
After the past couple of weeks, Americans are getting to know who Romney is, and they are not enamored with him like he expected. He angered the African American community with his racist remarks about “free stuff,” and his stance on immigration has not garnered love from Hispanics. His choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate alienated senior citizens and reminded many Americans of George W. Bush’s vice president; oil man Dick Cheney. His energy plan is a sellout to the oil industry and a disaster for the environment, and his assertion that he will achieve energy independence for all of North America informs a sense of arrogance as well as ignorance of national borders or the foreign oil market. However, he impugned his own character when he embraced birthers (racists), and it is another sign that his arrogance and lust for power supersedes good judgment.
Romney may have stifled discussion by disallowing questions about his record as head of Bain Capital, governor of Massachusetts, the Salt Lake City Olympics, Todd Akin, and abortion, but he defines himself as an arrogant, secretive, tax avoiding elitist with every new speech or statement to the press. Maybe Brigham Young’s great-great-granddaughter is correct that Romney is so used to everyone deferring to him that he really believes any lie, or offensive policy statement is going to garner automatic reverence from the American people, but Americans want a leader who listens, not commands. When Willard said he would achieve energy independence for all of North America, or that no-one asked to see his birth certificate, he really told Americans that he is a pandering racist who thinks too highly of himself when the reality is he is a desperate rich guy who expects the same adoration he commanded as a religious leader. His problem is that Americans are not transfixed by LDS religious fervor, and they demand a president who looks out for their interests, and it is the one thing Willard cannot deliver because he is a self-aggrandizing rich guy who is desperate for wealth and power, and the American people are on to him.